Mustard gets 50-year sentence for 2009 murder
By KAITLIN STROHSCHEIN
Port Orchard Independent Reporter
February 8, 2011 · Updated 12:45 PM
Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Leila Mills on Monday sentenced 19-year-old Daniel J. Mustard to a 50-year prison sentence for murdering his 87-year-old neighbor, Ruby Andrews in April 2009.
“This is about the victim,” Mills told Mustard. “It is about the community, and it is about holding you accountable for your actions.”
“Make no mistake about it, Mr. Mustard,” she said. “You’re not the victim. Mrs. Andrews is the victim.”
Mustard also spoke at the sentencing.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’ve destroyed lives. Not just one life, but many. I’d give my own life to undo that.”
Mustard’s parents and grandparents also begged Mills for mercy before she pronounced her sentence.
“He was so remorseful that he was placed on suicide watch,” said Jim Morasca, Mustard’s grandfather. “Daniel wants to help others and live a life of service.”
But Mills said Mustard’s actions before, during and after the murder didn’t show regret.
“You had a plan,” said Mills.
Mustard went to Andrews’ house pretending to do a school survey, according to testimony from Mustard.
Andrews invited him inside and offered him a glass of water because, “She was a loving, kind and trusting person,” Mills said.
Then, when her back was turned, he attacked her.
“There were three things you wanted,” Mills said. “Medications, guns and money.”
He found and took all three, Mills said, “and you took her wedding ring — a symbol of the love two people have for each other.
“You didn’t choose to injure her or scare her,” Mills said. “You stabbed her 14 times.”
Then, Mustard took pictures of her body with his cell phone and showed them to his friends.
“That was an incredible act of savagery,” Mills said. “It wasn’t an act of sudden remorse.”
Moreover, Mustard must have known that his actions were wrong, despite his lack of remorse.
“It’s clear to me that you knew what you’d done, because you tried to hide what you’d done,” Mills said.
He cleaned off the knife and changed his clothes, for example, after killing Andrews.
He also told several of his friends about the murder, and one of them asked what he would do if he got caught.
“She was an 87-year-old lady,” Mustard allegedly replied. “How bad could it be?”
“Is an older life of less value?” Mills asked Mustard.
“A younger life has potential,” she said, “but an older life has contributed.
“It seems the prosecutor’s comment about you being a schemer may be true,” she said.
While Mustard was in prison, she noted, he pretended to swallow pills but saved them in his mouth.
Then, he sold them to other inmates.
A jury found Mustard guilty, in December, of crimes including first- and second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, which carry standard sentencing range of 25.75 years to 32.71 years.
Consequently, Mills’ sentence was almost double the low end of the standard sentencing range.
“I do this because, Mr. Mustard, you have failed to show any moral compass,” she said. “By sentencing you to this exceptional term, I believe you will never be able to destroy another life.”